Dropbars on mountainbikes can be traced back at least 25 years to Mountain Bike Hall of Fame member John Tomac. Tomac was an all-rounder cyclist winning national and international titles in BMX, Road and Mountain Biking. Professionally racing both mountain (Yeti Cycles) and road (7-11 Road team) in 1990 he transitioned to the dropbar setup for both his mountain and road bikes. Travis Brown also raced a dropbar mountain bike in 2009 at Leadville.
Read more about John Tomac here: http://www.usacycling.org/where-are-they-now-chasing-down-john-tomac.htm
If you are interested in converting your hardtail to a dropbar gravel grinder I’ve put together a parts list with some pricing that I found online. For more information contact Ray at our bike sponsor Paragon Cycling (http://paragoncycling.com/), he has converted a number of these bikes and would be happy to offer advice.
* spec’d for a 26″ nine speed but 29er pricing should be around the same.
Microshift Dual Control Shift/Brake Levers – 2 x 9 Speed $137, 2 x 10 Speed $170.
Tektro Oryx Cantilever Brakes $40
Problem Solvers Clamp On Cable Hanger $9.
FSA Omega Compact Road Bar $34.
Nashbar Rigid Mountain Bike Fork $50
Kinesis Maxlight XLT Fork (carbon) $125.
Total cost option with alloy rigid front fork $270
Total cost option with carbon fiber rigid front fork $340